Pro Pundit Teams

Why I’ve ditched a playing substitute ahead of the busy FPL festive season

In his latest Pro Pundits article, Ash – aka ‘Chief’ – discusses his aggressive transfer strategy, losing a playing substitute and overlooking Manchester City assets.


It seems as if a lot has happened since writing my last Pro Pundits piece.

With December upon us and the commencement of the short turnaround between games, I decided to change my safety-first strategy, especially after having a squad of growing injured players and non-starters.

Prior to Gameweek 14, I had made four transfers in the previous five Gameweeks with only a solitary hit since Gameweek 4.

However, I’ve now made a staggering eight transfers (most of them during the early hours) in the past three Gameweeks, amounting to 16 points-worth of hits. Not all of the transfers have so far worked out as planned but they were made with a long-term view.

The best transfer that I made was selling Andriy Yarmolenko (£5.6m) for James Maddison (£7.7m) and I’ve already reaped substantial net gains from that move.

Buying Patrick van Aanholt (£5.5m) in Gameweek 16 made sense but acquiring him for a hit and his unfortunate injury amounted to a virtual nine-point hit, which proved to be catastrophic in the short term. Thankfully, I moved quickly to replace him for Martin Kelly (£4.3m) as he scored eight points last weekend.

It didn’t end there – I ditched Mason Mount (£6.6m) for Dele Alli (£8.7m), which also saw immediate net gains, but to make this happen I had to sell Frederic Guilbert (£4.4m) for Winston Reid (£3.9m) just for the sake of it. My previous transfers finally paid off for this weekend.

December is the time of the year when advice is given to strengthen benches but, in some ways, that’s something which hasn’t helped me of late. I’ve lost 46 points on the bench since Gameweek 11. For someone that traditionally keeps a light bench, that’s 40+ points too much.

But I don’t blame myself too much when I’ve benched Sergio Rico (£4.3m) against Manchester United (six), Rico against Liverpool (six), Todd Cantwell (£4.7m) away to Everton (ten) when he was struggling for starts, Cantwell against Arsenal (eight) and Rico against Crystal Palace before getting subbed off early (nine).

For the most part, those decisions beforehand made sense to me – it was just gut-wrenching to think that I had players on the field clocking up one or two points when my bench was scoring for fun.

Unfortunately, when I did finally need an auto-sub for this weekend, it was Cantwell and his miserly one point for Sadio Mane (£12.3m). Put simply, auto-subs haven’t worked in my favour and I’ve lost a lot of ground due to lost points on the bench.

I’m hoping that with only two ‘active’ substitutes that I can reduce the number of points I lose on the bench during the Gameweeks ahead.

A conscious decision that I made at the end of November was to have a squad without Manchester City assets. Having an FPL team with no coverage from the reigning champions seems a massive risk on paper. But when they’re struggling for form, hampered by injuries and managed by someone that is known for rotation, it made sense.

Don’t get me wrong, you have to hide behind the sofa when not owning Kevin De Bruyne (£10.2m) or Raheem Sterling (£11.8m) when they’re owned by a considerable number of FPL managers.

But how I saw it was that I could have a more balanced starting XI and invest in areas where other FPL managers simply couldn’t. The fact Sterling has only scored one goal since Gameweek 10 and De Bruyne has only scored two goals from Gameweek 6 almost justifies not having them in my squad.

Clearly, Manchester City have to improve from here and I need to re-invest in their assets soon. For now, at least, I’m just not enthused buying Gabriel Jesus (£9.6m) when I’ve got the in-form Jamie Vardy (£10.1m) or buying City’s defenders when they’re struggling to keep clean sheets.

Looking at this weekend, after all the hits that I’ve taken of late, I feel almost content in not making any more transfers for now.

I have plenty of armband options at hand but the two which seem most tantalising are Mane against Watford and Vardy against Norwich. It’s almost too hard to decide on who to pick. I just know that if I captain one the other will do well and vice-versa.

But for me, from a logical perspective, Vardy probably edges it.

Despite Mane being rested last weekend, Liverpool have a fixture-laden December and the last thing they will need is for Mane to be unnecessarily over-exerted.

Norwich have the worst away record in the league and Vardy is getting close to breaking his goalscoring record that he set in the 2015/16 season. By virtue of that alone, I surely have to captain him.

What could possibly go wrong?


Ash, known by many as Chief, recorded his best-ever FPL finish of 110th in 2011/12 and has become a hugely popular name on Twitter ever since.

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351 Comments Post a Comment
  1. KLOPPS AND ROBBERS... the s…
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 22 days ago

    Struggling with this transfer but what do you think?

    TAA, Jimi > Soy, Rashford

    1. FirMinaMiMo
        3 months, 22 days ago

        Taa to soy ...no need!
        Jimmy to rash ...a solid one!

      • Maddamotha
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 22 days ago

        Its decent if its for free.

      • LarryDuff
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 22 days ago

        I would pal

      • Rupert The Horse
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        3 months, 22 days ago

        You don't want TAA vs Watford at home?

        1. Clay Davis
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 9 Years
          3 months, 22 days ago

          Could be rested after last weekends failed attempt

      • in sane in de bruyne
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 22 days ago

        Two downgrades in my eyes

    2. BIGJOE
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      3 months, 22 days ago

      KDB and Jimmy to Son and Abraham for free? Good moves right? Son is going to out score KDB for the foreseeable future. Abraham higher ceiling than Jimmy.

      1. KLOPPS AND ROBBERS... the s…
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 22 days ago

        You just never know when KDB/City will start firing... I would see what team Spurs actually play tonight.

        1. BIGJOE
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          3 months, 22 days ago

          They don’t look like firing consistently any time soon. If they do pick up I can wildcard in January!

      2. Hot Toddy
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        3 months, 22 days ago

        Makes perfect sense.

    3. LarryDuff
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 22 days ago

      Whoever wrote this article is talking waffle. Having a good and playing bench around Christmas is well known to be very beneficial. Yes benching 8 or 9 points is frustrating, but getting them in once or twice over say 1 or 2 points is extremely beneficial. FPL 'experts' are destroying FPL

      1. stupendous
        • 7 Years
        3 months, 22 days ago

        I tend to agree with this.

        Why would you not want playing bench during the busiest time of the season and when rotation has already well and truly kicked in?

        Tripe

      2. KingOllie
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 22 days ago

        Agreed, who cares if you have bench points. Id rather my bench players score and get potential price rises/form than just having a perma red flagged 0 points every week

      3. ManUnitedComeBack
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 22 days ago

        Agreed. Especially with the likes of Rico, Kelly, Cantwell, Lundstram there can be no real argument for a non-playing bench (okay maybe one ultra cheapo in defence). I'd argue that even a player like Greenwood is worth it, generally subs on every game for a point and might actually score on and off.

      4. LarryDuff
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 22 days ago

        Good to see I'm not alone in my thinking haha

      5. doyeon
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 18 days ago

        Rotation is also slightly overrated during the hectic Xmas period.

    4. FirMinaMiMo
        3 months, 22 days ago

        Anyone thinking over gw19 ....???

        Big clashes against big teams (((liv vs lei))) ...we hve to break our entire team structure especially defence options using WC ....Agree????

        1. Lav
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 22 days ago

          Free hit.

          1. in sane in de bruyne
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 3 Years
            3 months, 22 days ago

            Waste

      • Stoichkov#8
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 22 days ago

        Hendo, 4.0
        TAA, Aurier, Lundstram, Kelly, Targett
        Mane, Son, KDB, Maddison, Pulisic
        Vardy, Abraham, Greenwood

        Early thoughts about GW18 moves. Which looks like best option?

        a) TAA, Pulisic > Soyuncu, Alli
        b) Pulisic, Greenwood > 4.4, Jimenez
        c) Maddison, Pulisic > Alli, Grealish
        d) Mane > Alli and roll FT (will lost only 0.1 on him)

        1. Lav
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 22 days ago

          I reckon C. I was gonna do Maddison + Jimmy to Grealish + Rash this week but now I dont know.

      • CRO KLOPP
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 22 days ago

        Local press here in Croatia are predicting this lineup for City tonight

        Bravo
        Cancelo Ota Garcia Mendy
        Rodri Gundo Foden
        Mahrez Jesus Bilva

      • Legohair
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 22 days ago

        Pope
        TAA-Soy-Lundy
        Mane-KDB-Pulisic-Maddy
        Vardy-Abraham-Jimenez

        Button, Aurier, Cantwell, Chambers

        A. KDB to Son
        B. KDB&Jimenez to Alli&Rash - 4p
        C. Save

        1. Lav
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 22 days ago

          I would be tempted to do B. Would also just role with Tammy soon, and no Pulisic.

          1. Legohair
            • 3 Years
            3 months, 22 days ago

            Thanks

      • MaticMVP
        • 1 Year
        3 months, 22 days ago

        Are there any good defenders too own from GW 18 till GW 25??

        1. Lav
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 22 days ago

          Thats a long stretch, but Palace arguably look the best there defensively

          1. MaticMVP
            • 1 Year
            3 months, 22 days ago

            It's basically the GWs Pool defenders aren't that likely to get many points.

            1. in sane in de bruyne
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              3 months, 22 days ago

              The wingers can haul against any team at any time

      • Lav
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 22 days ago

        Any ideas here? Have 2 FT, 1.1m ITB

        Gazza (4.0)
        TAA Soy Lund (Rico 4.0)
        Mane KDB Son Maddison (Cantwell)
        Vardy Tammy Jimmy

        1. MaticMVP
          • 1 Year
          3 months, 22 days ago

          Kdb to Alli and Jimenez to Rashford maybe?

          1. Lav
            • 3 Years
            3 months, 22 days ago

            Yeah I really want to do Jimmy to Rashford and I was short 0.3m of that, now 0.4m. I was going to do Maddison to Grealish to fund the move, but feel like that is harsh to do when he has Norwich at home. Unsure I want to double up Spurs attack right now + I have Gazza.

        2. Jimbo-Jones
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 22 days ago

          Team is great for this week.
          Must be considering Jimmy to Rash but can’t see where you’d get the money this week.
          If literally no option, I’d further downgrade your 4.0 or Cantwell to free up a bit more cash.

          1. Lav
            • 3 Years
            3 months, 22 days ago

            Yeah Jimmy to Rash is the ideal move that I want to do. Was ready to do Maddison to Grealish to fund the move but that is harsh now. Need 0.4m to fund the move so may have to downgrade elsewhere if possible like you say.

        3. in sane in de bruyne
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 22 days ago

          Solid. Maybe just upgrade your 4.0 defender?

          1. Lav
            • 3 Years
            3 months, 22 days ago

            An option, but I really need Rashford

      • Jimbo-Jones
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 22 days ago

        G2G and roll transfer?
        Bench right? Or start Jimenez over Tielemans / Lund?

        Pope
        TAA VVD Soyuncu Lundstram
        KDB Zaha Tielemans Mané
        Vardy Abraham

        Jimenez Kelly Dendoncker

        1. Lav
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 22 days ago

          GTG

        2. Gudjohnsen
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 22 days ago

          Would start Jimmy over Soyuncu.

      • In ole we trust
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 22 days ago

        2 ft and iv 0itb what's peoples thots as too what i can do with this lot, please help,

        Pope
        Taa, lundstram, Pereira
        Kdb, maddison, mane, Pulisic,
        Ings, vardy, abraham

        Bench, mcgovern, O'Connell
        Cathcart, cantwell

        1. Lav
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 22 days ago

          Pope has to go, and maybe I would consider changing Pulisic.

          1. In ole we trust
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 2 Years
            3 months, 22 days ago

            Pope to who tho lol and also pulisic to who?

            1. Lav
              • 3 Years
              3 months, 22 days ago

              Just realized you dont have any Spurs players. Maybe would keep Pulisic then and consider dropping one of KDB, Maddison, Mane to Son/Alli. Pope to Guaita

          2. Annie
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 7 Years
            3 months, 22 days ago

            Why Pulisic?

            1. Lav
              • 3 Years
              3 months, 22 days ago

              Been playing so many matches so maybe a rest is coming, and Tammy is the main man. All you really need for Chelsea I think.

              1. Annie
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 7 Years
                3 months, 22 days ago

                If he played 90 last night I'd be inclined to agree, but looks a great shout for this week at least.

      • BrutalLogiC
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 22 days ago

        It's almost half time for season, has it been a good one so far?

        1. Lav
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 22 days ago

          FPL wise yes, my best ever run so far sitting at 24k. Been incredible. As for the PL, its a one horse race with Leicester keeping us entertained. Otherwise been a write off season, last year was better.

        2. RAFA THE GAFFA
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 22 days ago

          Meh, back in top 100k, nowt special, early days still

      • RAFA THE GAFFA
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 22 days ago

        Save FT here? Right to bench Aurier?
        Thanks 🙂

        Pope
        TAA • Soy • Lundy
        Son • KDB • Mané • Maddy • Pulisic
        Vardy(C) • Tammy
        (McGov. Aurier. Greeny. Rico)

        1. Lav
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 22 days ago

          Can get rid of Pope, otherwise save and GTG

          1. RAFA THE GAFFA
            • 3 Years
            3 months, 22 days ago

            Not a bad week for him but wouldn’t be surprised if we scored again

        2. zon
          • 5 Years
          3 months, 22 days ago

          Save FT most def. Right to bench Aurier, I predict a tough one for Spurs.

          1. RAFA THE GAFFA
            • 3 Years
            3 months, 22 days ago

            Thanks Zon!

      • In ole we trust
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 22 days ago

        Peoples thots? Kdb to alli to city cover?

        1. circusmonkey
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 9 Years
          3 months, 22 days ago

          In English?

          1. Hot Toddy
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 1 Year
            3 months, 22 days ago

            People's thoughts? De Bruyne out for Alli for Spurs coverage?

      • The Greenback Boogie
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 22 days ago

        Current team :

        Pope
        VVD - Soy - Lundstram
        Salah - KDB - Son - Zaha
        Jiminez - Vardy - Rashford

        Have 2 FT and 0.1 ITB. Which moves would you make?

        A. KDB + Jiminez to Kane + 6.4 mid (Likely Shelvey/JWP/Grealish)
        B. Jiminez + VVD to Tammy + Spurs defender
        C. Jiminez + KDB to Tammy + Alli/Richarlison
        D. KDB + Zaha to Richarlison/Pulisic/Maddison + Alli

        Loads of combinations there and I am confused as to which avenue to pursue.

        1. Lav
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 22 days ago

          C. if you are content with your league position and want consistent greens/small reds

          A. if you want a bit of a differential and to climb

      • Gudjohnsen
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 22 days ago

        Sterling will haul against Arsenal (confirmed) because he's a troll.

        1. zon
          • 5 Years
          3 months, 22 days ago

          Or because Arsenal's defense leaks like a granny's arse.

        2. Hot Toddy
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 1 Year
          3 months, 22 days ago

          A troll would blank vs Arsenal

      • phuang
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 22 days ago

        Pope
        Soyuncu, TAA, Lundstrum
        KDB, Mane, Pulisic, Son
        Vardy, Abraham, Ings

        Subs: Heaton, Kelly, Hayden, Tomori

        Looking to shift out Pulisic for Martial/Maddison. Who would you go for?

        1. Lav
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 22 days ago

          Martial.

        2. RAFA THE GAFFA
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 22 days ago

          Maddison. Nailed. Better team. More creative player. Less injury prone.

      • DS29
        • 1 Year
        3 months, 22 days ago

        Jiminez to rashford?

      • Nostalgia picks
          3 months, 22 days ago

          TAA and Jiminez to Rashford + Def up to 6.2m (and who?)

        • circusmonkey
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 9 Years
          3 months, 22 days ago

          Misleading headline, suggests he doesn't have a playing substitute. Rupert Murdoch, take note of this emerging tabloid talent.